04 July 2019 | Cala Macarella & Cala Santa Galdana
03 July 2019 | Cala Son Saura
02 July 2019 | Cuitadella
01 July 2019 | Cala Algayrens
30 June 2019 | Cala Algayrens
29 June 2019 | Puerto De Soller
28 June 2019 | Sa Calobra
23 June 2019 | Puerto Pellenca
21 June 2019 | Cala Canyamel
20 June 2019 | Cabrera & Cala Mondrago
17 June 2019 | Colonia Sant Jordi
16 June 2019 | Playa Es Trence
Seaplane overhead - Water vapour in the skies
14 July 2019 | Fornells
Today is a much more peaceful one watching the learners sailing dinghies and windsurfers under the tuition from Menorca Sailing.
We have noticed part of the Cala towards the East has remained empty. The reason shortly became obvious as we saw the firefighting seaplane collecting water from this empty stretch and then headed north to help tackle a wildfire. This continued to happen for about an hour with many sorties. It is wonderful to see the skill of the pilot.
All around the island, there are signs of the dangers of flames (lit cigarettes, barbecues that haven't been properly dowsed etc.) and clearly these warnings had not been heeded. The countryside is tinder dry and it would take very little to ignite it.
Thanks to these guys for doing a great job!
What a blow!
09 July 2019 | Fornells
The reason we decided to remain in Fornells came in full force in the early hours of the morning as we were greeted with "40 knot winds" and all in darkness. Steven sat on anchor watch and I joined him around 5am.
Unfortunately, some boats did come together and others clearly had dragged anchor and were motoring around the Cala to try and find a better location in which to reset.
Our Rocna held well and as the Cala was not long enough or deep enough to produce much of fetch, the waves stayed circa 0.6m to 0.7m.
As the morning progressed, the winds and waves slowly died down.
Time to sleep!
Time to meet Mao
08 July 2019 | Mahon
It was back on the bus today for a tourist day out to the island's capital of Mahon or Mao in Catalonian.
The bus journey took us via the only golf resort on the island and past the nature reserve of Albufera. The bus station itself gave the appearance of being within the barracks built by the British during their time on the island.
Mahon is quite a compact city and it is clear to see both the British and French influences on the architecture. We strolled down the main street of the historic centre and went to the two markets, the main indoor market has been built into the cloisters of one of the main churches.
At the neighbouring fish market, we paused for lunch and enjoyed the fish tapas and crochetas. We thought it best to line our stomachs for our next tourist spot of the gin distillery (definitely the British influence).
The Menorcans drink their gin either neat or as pomada, which is gin with lemonade. Steven tried a few of the other options as well including the cocoa and the coffee flavoured ones. We both settled on the pomada and bought a miniature to enjoy later. This is strong stuff and we could feel the effects of the spirit in the heatwave. It is circa 35 - 40 degrees today and everyone is walking around with 1.5 litres of water in their hands.
We walked through the old part of the city and enjoyed the cobbled streets.
On our way back to the bus station, we popped into the supermarket (a good sized Mercadona) and made our way back to Fornells with goodies and provisions in hand.
The return journey took in a couple other Cala's on the way. We had debated anchoring in, two to the south and one to the north whilst they all looked pleasant they require calm conditions to be tenable so remaining in Fornells is our best option.
Bad weather is forecast.
Later in the afternoon, the gentleman that looks after the buoyage in the harbour came out to those of us at anchor and warned of strong winds forecast for that night advising that we should all let out more anchor chain. Every boat busied itself with either letting out more chain or setting an additional anchor in preparation.
07 July 2019 | Fornells
After a relaxing morning on-board, we went ashore again to see a little more of Fornells.
We visited the Castell Sant Antoni along the promenade overlooking the harbour entrance. It has been 'restored' with the liberal use of concrete but it still highlights the defence position used during the various changes of the countries who had been in place in Menorca.
Over the centuries the island regularly changed hands in particular between the French and the English.
Fornells reminds us of a Spanish/French Salcombe, it has that feel to it. However, the anchorage has space and the comings and goings in the Cala's are not apparent here apart from the dinghy sailing from the clubs.
The local restaurants and shops are of fairly high quality and the prices reflect this too.
We are enjoying our time here and plan to stay
for a fair few days as it is on the whole peaceful and gives us time to reflect on where we are after a busy winter.
A King's Dish
06 July 2019 | Fornells
We took the dinghy this morning for the normal chores and see a little of the harbour.
The diesel prices here were over a third more expensive than we have seen anywhere else in the Balearics and the two small supermarkets were definitely charging a holiday location premium on every item.
We decided therefore to consult the bus timetable and go to the nearby market town of Es Mercadel for our supplies. It is always great to get out on the buses as you get to sample some of the interior of the islands. Es Mercadel itself reminded us of Romsey in its size.
Later in the afternoon, we were given the display of the locals racing their boats in the harbour. The island has a range of boats named after it (Menorquins) and we can see why. The design is so popular here - a wave breaking bow for the swell, the boats leave little wash which allows them to tow a fishing a net. They have fold out biminis, which stretch the length of the vessel to allow the fisherman and their precious catch to always be able to be protected.
The speciality in Fornells is lobster which is normally served as a stew 'Calderata de Llogasta' - King Juan Carlos is reported to sail here from Palma just for this dish. The fisherman we believe are probably fairly wealthy!
As I write this, the wind has picked up quite dramatically this morning. Over the last couple of weeks I have been reading 'East & West Med's Best' by Sarah Edwards, given to me by Margaret of Freya of Lerwick in Sant Carles, in which the authoress talks about the Tramontana (North wind) which can be particularly strong as it comes down from the French coast the Gulf de Lyon (Bay of the lion) and when the lion roars it means it.
She said in her book, if you find no dew on the deck in the morning wait until ten o'clock before making your decision to leave and sure enough today there was no dew and by 10.15 there are thirty knot gusts. Sometimes it pays to be a bookworm.
Blue lagoon in the South
05 July 2019 | Fornells
A longer passage today as we continued west along the South coast, as we sailed by Binibeca we both agreed we had chosen the best anchorage for the previous night.
On the south west point of Menorca is a small island - Isla del Aire with a passage between it and the mainland with only 6.6 metres of depth.
As conditions were calm we chose to take the inner passage and were amazed by the colour of the water - for those that have been to the blue lagoon in Malta or to the Caribbean this water colour was the closest we had come across to there. Boats were anchored here for lunch and we were pleased to be able to see it due to the conditions.
We continued past the entrance to Mahon north up the east coast to the fishing village of Fornells.
On approach, we were racing an evenly matched Spanish yacht in 20 kts of wind. In some respects we wish they had beaten us to the headland as we would have had prior warning of the katabatic effects off the cliff on entrance.
With our sails down, we motored in past the buoyage to select a suitable place to anchor, unlike some of the previous Calas, it is difficult to see the bottom here but we set well and settled in for the night.